March 20, 2012

Spit it out.

I'm feeling a little mentally lethargic this morning. I've been planning this post for a couple days but I'm not sure if I'll give it the inspired justice I meant. That reads really self righteous, doesn't it? Just go with it.

Sunday night we had some friends over for dinner. After a brief discussion about The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo one of them joked about my terrible taste in books. It's true, I generally tend to go for entertainment value as opposed to insight into the human pysche. I remember my grade 12 English teacher asking us what kind of books we read and I tried to pretend that escapism wasn't high on my list. I wanted to impress him with my intelligence and not just my ridiculously high mark.

As I was perusing Globe and Mail headlines I came across an article about how teenagers should be reading adult type books and adults should be enjoying teenage literature. When I was growing up I don't think I read any of the "adult" books being recommended in the article. It made me feel kind of silly, actually. Why didn't I try to be a more intellectual young person? Why did I read so much Meg Cabot and not more Dostoevsky? I didn't just read books for my age group, though, as I grew up. I read books that were more focused on an "adult" audience (meaning that they weren't written with specifically teenagers in mind) but I read things I found interesting. I still do.

Sure, in junior high I dabbled in the Margaret Atwood and Red Dwarf. My tastes vary, okay? Actually, I read Atwood to be a bit more cultured (the same reason I watched Thor the other night although, amazingly, Atwood didn't leave me as depressed) and enjoyed some of it. After I graduated and ran away to Calne (look it up) I didn't have a big literary selection so Atwood it was. Don't ever do that to yourself. Read Margaret Atwood and then A Song of Ice and Fire like I did and then maybe go back if you feel it necessary. Too much Atwood will certainly drag you down. Trust me. I read Game of Thrones afterwards and it would have made a much nicer interlude. Okay I'll just say it: it would have made a much nicer alternative. I guess I fail at being a Canadian woman.

Anyway, what I gathered from the article is that adults read books written by old dead people that are heavy reads and "young adults" read interesting fantasy books. Okay, Globe and Mail, whatever you say. The whole argument was kind of frustrating. Why does an adult need to read YA fiction to have some escapism? I don't mind some YA literature but I prefer books targeted to slightly more mature audiences. The subject matter tends to be a little more relevant and the writing a bit more mature. That said, I loved Harry Potter like the rest of you and Ron is, in fact, one of my many fictional boyfriends. Fictional on two counts.

One final thing I will say about the article is that Globe and Mail commenters always have the most inflammatory stuff to say and I almost always find myself disagreeing with 90% of what's said there. And I don't generally hold myself to being a mightily opinionated person. The comment sections are generally more interesting than the articles themselves.

Now that I've started to get a little less mentally lethargic I think I'm ready to talk, again, about KONY 2012. You know you love it.

I have found the entire thing fascinating from the get go. Invisible Children has done something massive that is creating a ton of dialogue and, whether you agree with them, their methods, or their message, you have to admit that dialogue is a good thing. People are talking and thinking critically about what's going on. Well, people are certainly talking and a few of them are thinking critically. There are other people who are embodying the notion of bandwagon jumping and spitting out everything they hear. People like that are making me angry.

I don't care if you think KONY 2012 is the greatest thing ever and that it's going to change the world and BRING JOSEPH KONY DOWN in a peaceful way and everyone will be happy and sing songs and war criminals will one by one be brought to justice. I don't agree with you, but you are absolutely entitled to your opinion. I think that expecting a peaceful outcome is a little ignorant and that, should Kony be arrested, an execution is about all he can expect as far as justice goes. I'm not in favour of capital punishment in any circumstance so I have a problem supporting that. I know my capital punishment views are fairly unique.

Many Ugandans are also not supporting the KONY 2012 campaign and I think that something that also needs to be addressed. The sale of KONY 2012 merchandise has been likened to what the sale of Osama Bin Laden paraphernalia post 9/11 would have felt like for Americans. Let that settle in for a few seconds and think about how 9/11 impacted the US and how well that would have gone over. Dan Haseltine so eloquently raises the question of Ugandans' dignity and where that sits in the whole campaign. Remember folks, they're people, too, just like us.

So what prompted yet another post relating to Invisible Children? Jason Russell and his melt down. When I heard about it I was so disappointed and felt an incredible amount of sympathy for him. The poor guy has had a rough go of it in the past week or two. You don't need to read any statements from IC's CEO to be able to figure that one out. He made a very personal video that went viral and, whether you like it or not, had a huge impact.There was a lot of love and a lot of hate that went towards him. I think for most people that would be too much to handle. KONY 2012's viral status I'm sure was a blessing for Invisible Children, but I don't think they anticipated how big it would be. That's a lot to take in for one guy. I don't think I could have handled anywhere near what he must be going through right now.

While Jason Russell's personal crisis is truly unfortunate it's really upsetting the impact this is going to have on Invisible Children and the whole KONY 2012 campaign for some people. With things like this popping up on Facebook I get angry: "Sad. I really hope people think twice about donating anymore and promoting this person. There are other charities that are much better to donate to that will help those most in need." Thankfully, these are on Karl's Facebook and not mine so I can't say anything and rock the boat; I blog instead. Are you telling me that one person's mistake and mental break down is going to dictate your feelings for a war criminal? Are you telling me that you're perfect? Are you telling me that, I don't know, since Peter denied Jesus three times that maybe we shouldn't be Christians because an apostle made a mistake? 

Grow up. Grow a brain. Use it.

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